Eschatology and the Rebellion against Pope Francis

My opinion is that the first part of the tribulation is very near. We are at the threshold of the end times. But the end of the end times is hundreds of years in the future. Here is the outline of future events:

* First part of the tribulation (21st century)
* Brief time of peace and holiness (21st century)
* Inter-tribulation period (21st to 25th century)
* Second part of the tribulation (25th century)
* Return of Jesus Christ (25th century)

The earliest events of the tribulation include a great apostasy, in which most persons who call themselves Catholic leave the Catholic Church, and then soon fall away from Christianity altogether. We can see the beginnings of this process already unfolding.

Most Catholics believe whatever secular society teaches them, even in contradiction to Church dogma. They no longer believe that the Bible is infallible, that the Magisterium teaches with authority from God, or that the Saints are a sure guide to our lives. They have fallen away from the teachings of the Church on sexual ethics, so much so that most Catholics are guilty and unrepentant from many objective mortal sexual sins.

Conservative Catholics consider themselves to be bastions of orthodoxy. But when God put them to the test by giving them a liberal Pope, many preferred their own understanding over that of the Vicar of Christ. Many refuse to be taught and corrected by the Supreme Pontiff. The conservative Catholic subculture has set itself up as a type of replacement for the Magisterium, as if it were infallible, as if it had the role to teach and correct the Church and the Pope.

At some point very soon, Pope Francis is going to issue a decision on doctrine or discipline which will cause many conservatives to fall away completely from communion with the Pope. (In fact, more than a few conservatives have already committed formal heresy, though they still pretend to be in communion with the Roman Pontiff.) This will happen very soon. Many conservative leaders will declare the Pope to be a heretic, and will depart from communion with him. They will thereby incur automatic excommunication. They will be joined by a few Cardinals, some Bishops, more than a few priests, deacons, and religious, and a large number of lay persons. They will end up in a situation much like the SSPX, claiming to be faithful Catholics who are preserving the true Faith, yet separated from the Roman Pontiff.

The next Pope (after Francis) will be very conservative. He will put the liberal Catholics to the test by requiring them give up their grave sins in order to receive Communion, in order to have teaching positions, in order to be clerics and religious, in order to call themselves Catholic. And they will reject him and the Church, rather than give up the teachings of sinful secular society which they have long treated as dogma. Since many more Catholics are liberal than conservative, this departure from the Faith will be even more substantial. Many parishes will be forced to close, for lack of priests and lay persons. Many dioceses and parishes will be thrown into a severe financial crisis.

As a result of these two departures, the Church will suddenly become much smaller and much holier. Those who remain in the Church will learn the Faith with an insight and depth that is currently very uncommon. And eventually many of those who departed will repent and return.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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16 Responses to Eschatology and the Rebellion against Pope Francis

  1. Sunimal Fernando says:

    Ron, do you believe the Propercy of St. malachi . Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations, and when these things are finished, the city of seven hills [i.e. Rome] will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The End. Is Next Pope the False prophet with Anti-Christ? Could Obama be the AC?

    • Ron Conte says:

      The Antichrist is in the distant future. He will never be Pope or attempt to be Pope. The false prophet who assists the Antichrist is head of the Antichrist’s false church, not the institutional Catholic Church.

      Peter the Roman is every Pope from Francis to the last Pope before the return of Jesus Christ. No, Obama is not the Antichrist. The Antichrist will be born in the late 24th century.

  2. Mark P. says:

    Is it a correct statement that we are in the “end times” right now, and have been since Christ’s Ascension, but that the “last days” are distinctly different and refer to a period of time marked by a distinct beginning event which leads to the final judgment? I would also guess that the time period of the “last days” is much shorter than the “end times.”

  3. Mark P. says:

    It seems to me that the great apostasy is an event which has been ongoing even since God made the first covenants with man. God’s covenental relationship with man started small and reached its zenith with Christ and the foundation of the Church: from Adam and Eve (a couple) to Noah (a family) to Abraham (a larger tribe) to Moses (a nation) to David and Israel (a kingdom) and finally to Christ and the Catholic Church.

    The Old Testament has plenty of examples of the Israelites falling away from the faith but then coming back.

    But even in the NT we see what was arguably the first apostasy with Judas. Then the letters of Sts. Peter, Paul, John and Jude mention smaller groups of those who turned away from the faith. The early days of Christianity saw plenty of heretical sects (were they apostasies or just incorrect interpretations of the faith?). Then came the Eastern schism followed by the Reformation, 1000 and 1500 years after the foundation of the Church. But even those instances, although the E. Orthodox and Protestants broke from the Church and teachings on the sacraments, they tried to live the Gospel albeit without the guidance of the Church. But in these latest days, perhaps with the early stages of Modernism beginning about 250 years ago and stretching to now, there has been a slow but steady break with God completely. Not just apart from the Catholic Church, but of God altogether. Even within the last decade, those classified as “nones” in the West has been growing extremely quickly signifying a complete collapse in the belief in God. And coupled with this is man becoming increasingly sure of himself in the realms of ethics and science, justifying things like abortion, euthanasia, warfare, relativism, gender ideology, hostility to those of other nations and beliefs, etc. One could say that this pattern has been the natural progression of mankind since we have learned about ourselves and the world. Or one could say that it is a pattern predicted in Scripture 2000 years ago and is finally reaching the threshold of the last days.

  4. Paul M. says:

    You speak of the “conservatives” and “liberals” quite a bit while ignoring another group who is also in danger of being deceived: apparitionals (yes, I made that term up). ;-) Seriously, though, doesn’t it concern you that we are not to know the hour and that there will be many false signs and prophets, yet you invest a lot of energy trying to figure out future events and scenarios? Also, you place trust in Garabandal and Medjugorje despite the fact that the Church has not approved them. Is this not also a case of you believing you know better than those in the Church who are in positions to make those judgements?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Decisions by local Bishops about apparitions do not fall under the Magisterium (which is non-infallible when exercised by local Bishops only), but under the temporal authority, which is fallible. Yes, those Catholics who rely excessively on private revelation are in danger of being deceived. I’ve written many article to guide them away from false revelations. My role as a theologian includes speculative theology on doctrine and even dogma (how it should be understood and applied). I am not exceeding my role by proposing which claimed revelations are true and which are false. It is the role of theology to consider such matters. And it is quite alarming to see that many Catholics have shunned the traditional role for theology more generally. They wish the Magisterium to decide all questions, leaving no room for pious opinion and speculative theology. They favor the majority opinion among conservatives, and see no place for a theological argument which might favor a minority opinion.

    • Paul M. says:

      What criteria do you use, as a theologian, to discern which apparitions are true? Also, how have you determined that a theologian can, in fact, make a positive pronouncement, rather than simply ruling out a false apparition?

    • Ron Conte says:

      As I’ve written in my articles on this topic, a negative pronouncement can be quite certain, if the messages deny a dogma or are incompatible with Catholic doctrine. We can be as certain that the revelation is false as we are certain that the teaching being contradicted is true. But for true private revelations, we cannot be as certain, since the absence of false doctrine is not sufficient to establish veracity.

    • Paul M. says:

      The “seers” predicted that the “warning” would be seen by Pope Paul VI and Padre Pio. Also, there would only be three more popes before the end of the “times.” Also, the “seers” walked backwards and were often in contorted positions. They even levitated. They reportedly talked with the “Virgin” about many frivolous things. Conchita turned her house into a museum and died wealthy (similar to the “visionaries” at Medjugorje).

      How many red flags does a person need to discount this as diabolical or at least fake?

    • Ron Conte says:

      My opinion is based on my study of private revelations over many years, as well as on my knowledge of Catholic teaching. You are entitled to disagree; it is a speculative matter.

  5. Tom Mazanec says:

    How do you know the Parousia will occur the 25th Century and not, say, the 22nd or 28th?

  6. Christine says:

    My response is to Paul M.
    The visionaries of Medjugorje and those of Garabandal are shown to be sinners in some areas, but we must remember that we all fall short of God’s glory. (Rom. 3:23)
    I love what Isaiah says: “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth, Isaiah 64:6a.
    I too, was upset when I was shown the children in Garabandal walk backwards…Later on in some of their experiences, they gave messages which did not come true.
    I perceive that the fallen angels have of course meddled and are still meddling by trying to destroy the complete credibility of Garabandal – even now. They do not give up. They hate the Blessed Mother and they hate Saint Michael, but they will not succeed in their goal of full destruction. God is never defeated.
    The messages of Garabandal are good, but we must be aware of the interferences of the fallen angels.We must never discard the whole thing, to do so is to make the fallen angels laugh hysterically with joy and triumph.
    We must focus on the fruits…the same applies to Medjugorje.
    Peace, Christine

    • Paul M. says:

      Christine, because the fallen angels “hate the Blessed Mother” it is all the more likely that, given permission to do so by God, they would try, in whatever way they can, to imitate apparitions with the intention of sowing confusion. The messages of Garabandal and Medjugorje are different in subtle ways from Fatima, Lourdes, Our Lady of Good Success, etc.

      Take Medjugorje as and example. There have been thousands of messages and the seers have had “visions” all over the world, despite the early message that there would be only 4 total visions. The seers and the surrounding community have made their living off attracting tourism to the site and to their meeting places around the world. The “lady” is not concise in her messages, both in giving contradictory messages to different children and in the number of appearances. She defended a priest who later became laicized due to scandal. She also has given messages that would be considered new revelation and even heresy, i.e. that all faiths are equal in the eyes of God and that she is not the mediatrix of all graces, only Jesus mediates.

      Worst of all, and where I think Ron should be the most concerned, there is a cult following of people, including priests, who have decided for themselves that they know better than the Church about these apparitions and have ignored the local bishops and even the vatican about making “pilgrimages” to the site. Talk about an under the radar schism.

  7. Christine says:

    I meant the ‘seers’ as children walked backwards on an occasion.

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